From the days I first began as beekeeper, I can say pretty confidently that I’ve been a Beehooligan. “Beehooligan” is the term we coined to describe someone who doesn’t follow the standards or “conventions” of the larger group very well. As a matter of fact, a hooligan in general is someone who not only doesn’t follow along with “proper” or socially acceptable practices but pretty much enjoys tromping on them, through them and over them whenever it happens.
So it is with a “Beehooligan”. We not only don’t care what most folks think of as the acceptable way to go about things, we pretty much are oblivious to it or don’t pay much attention even if we do know.
Given that line of thinking, I could be described as a hooligan for almost my whole life. I do things my way win, lose or whatever the result. I’m not saying that makes me any better or worse than anyone else, just someone who marches rather haphazardly to my own madcap drummer.
In the beekeeping world, it not only has carried over, it has spilled over and run amok. From the beginning I have ever been the experimentalist and the guy who, for lack of a better way to say it, sees something and says “Hold my beer, watch this…” as I wade into the fray.
I’m the guy who will stand in the middle of the swarm cloud of bees as they move from one to the next place, laughing almost maniacally. Actually, there video of me doing just that somewhere on a local TV station. I’m the kind of fella who climbs up on a roof with just a ladder, a hive tool and a box and proceeds to hang over the side of the roof, nigh upside down to cut a hive out of the soffit. Why? Because it needed to be gotten and those were the things I had on me at the time to get it done with. Forget gravity and 30 foot drops. Ropes to secure myself? “Hunh?! Wish I’da thought of that before then. Oh well, too late to back out now…”
I don’t encourage people to go about beekeeping as I do. As a matter of fact, I frequently let people know that I am probably the example they ought NOT to follow. Everyone has something they can teach others, even if it’s what not to do. Ever heard the saying, “If it’s stupid but it works, then it’s not stupid.”? Yeah, I’m pretty sure whoever said that phrase had to have been watching me at some point in time.
I love my bees. I feel a passion for beekeeping that I often feel not many others understand or can appreciate the full depths or extent of. I always have questions that I want the answers to and apparently am too impatient to wait for “real” scientists or researchers to do it safely or appropriately first. I want to know and I want to know now so please stand out of my way because I’m going in head first.
I plan to share some of my experiences and stories from my own point of view going forward here. I truly believe that while teaching in a formal classroom or workshop setting is great, some things are taught best sometimes just by telling a story. Let me tell you about my individual successes and my failures. Let me tell you about that time I fell out of a tree trying to catch a swarm, and so on.
I think not only will you be entertained, you will also come away from reading about my experience and maybe learned something without having to experience it yourself. If nothing else, perhaps I can be your crash test dummy.